Monitor connection types & display ports

From the late 1980s till today, monitor connection types have been evolving. They’ve been trying to keep up with the improvements made in the industry. Every day manufacturers try to figure out a better, more efficient way to relay the images and videos and improve user experience.

Article summary

DVI is a monitor connection type that mainly transports video, as is VGA. On the other hand, HDMI can transfer both sound and video. They’re some of the most popular options being used, but other connection types include DisplayPort and USB-C. The most common monitor connection types and display ports are HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C.

Here, we’ll also look at some of the following things:

  • The differences between DisplayPort and HDMI
  • The individual characteristics of each type

While shopping for a monitor cable, we need to be as vigilant as a person looking for gauge wires or circuit breakers.

Look at the steps made to improve the pictures relayed. We can almost say that we are nearing the actualization of virtual reality. Some monitor cables can now transmit 40GB of data per second. It makes it so much easier to transmit high-quality images while maintaining quality.

Getting the right type can be likened to choosing the perfect welding glasses for your task or extension cord to power your devices.

Monitor connection types & display ports

types of monitor connections
Types we’ll be going through

VGA Port

Being one of the oldest types, VGA is highly popular and the most used. Video Graphics Array was first used in 1987 and has been used since then. Like best lawn garden tractors, their ports last for a long time.


It consists of 15 pins divided equally into 3 rows consisting of 5 pins that transmit only analog data. Each pin has a different function, transmitting colors for smoother and better viewing.

The screen resolution is quite low compared to other monitor connection types. It’s because VGA has a maximum resolution of 1900 * 1200 pixels. However, it is important to note it is an improvement compared to its predecessors. They had much lower pixels! While using the VGA, you will experience degradation in image quality. It is primarily caused by changing the images from analog form to a digital form viewable by screens in the market today.

The technology is slowly becoming obsolete with many new screens in the market lacking a port for the connection. Additionally, some computer manufacturers have removed the port from their video cards. Many current devices rarely support them.

You may find yourself in a situation where you have a VGA port and cable in your computer, but your monitor lacks the port. What do you do? You can purchase a converter for VGA to digital signals and connect it to the screen. In the same way, we have SAE to metric conversion charts. We have adapter recommendation tables from manufacturers we could look at.

Even though VGA is being phased out, teachers still use it in schools and seminars. Some places of worship will also have them, and others through projectors that support the cable connection. Older TV versions allow for the connection as well. It is important to note that VGA transfers to video, but there is no sound for video transmission.

Make sure to check out our articles on cassette toilets, car lifts, and utility sinks.

vga output

However, this port may look a little rusty and past its prime.

14 pin 15 pin
Compatible with ComputersComputers and TV screens
General use ComputersWider screen compatibility
Pin arrangement3 rows with 5, 4 and 5 pins respectively.3 rows of 5 pins each
General price$6-45 depending on the length$7-$50 depending on length


  • These are generally cheap
  • Very easily available
  • Comes with double or tripple shielding
  • Two alternating clock pins for communicating with the connected devices


  • Does not support digital data
  • Transfers only video signals and not audio
  • Huge chances of signal loss as the transmitting signal is analogue

DVI Port

Digital Visual Interface Port, popularly known as DVI port. It mainly transmits its videos digitally from the source (computer) to the endpoint, usually a screen or projector. Unlike most ‘transmission types which rarely have different subtypes, it has three types;


It transmits only in analog format.


It transmits in digital mode.


It transmits both in digital and analog formats.

This type mainly supports the transfer of video data without audio. However, some cables will transfer both but rarely find them in the market. With DVI, you will need a second sound output to better view if you watch a video.

If you need high quality, you’ll strike gold with DVI. With their different configurations, you will find some offering up to 2560*1600 pixels which are HD video. There are monitor sets that support highly defined videos and have a DVI connector port. You can easily use it for improved viewing.

Devices with the DVI display ports are mostly computer monitors and projectors. Some television sets have the supporting ports for the DVI connection, but rarely will you find it. With the newer cable sets, there are adapters developed to support the connection to any device.

We have DVI-HDMI cables that were developed to support connection to output and input sources with either connection but not both. It is not uncommon to find computers with only DVI ports in the video card and screens with HDMI in the display ports or vice versa. The cables are designed so that they are bidirectional to connect them either way.

DVI to VGA cables are also available. You don’t have to change your older monitor to accommodate the newer requirements. With a VGA screen, you will buy an adapter to convert from DVI to VGA and connect the cables.


  • Transmission speed of DVI cables is very fast
  • Information transferred is in digital form
  • The transmitted images are more sharp and clear
  • Minimum signal losses


  •  If the display is too large, the transmitted signal gets blurred
  • It can be confusing with so many versions available



HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It is known for high-quality video transmission among various media. Whenever you are looking for a mode of video or picture transmission and HDMI is among the choices, then look no further. When making a choice, there is a need to consider the pros and cons.

People looking forward to transmitting data over long distances without worrying about a poorer image should consider this an option. HDMI cables are reliable over long distances that exceed 20 meters and occasionally reach 30 meters.

Unlike the earlier discussed types, HDMI can transmit quality videos and sound. With your cable, you can comfortably watch HD videos without loss in quality of pictures or sound.

HDMI is the best option for home entertainment that needs a connection to the television from the computer. Your experience using it will remain unmatched. It can transmit high-quality videos with fast transmission and original pictures without losing their quality.

HDMI can also be used for office work and presentations as well. For instance, their high-quality images can be utilized for presentation through a projector for clearer images. Connections to screens from the CPUs through the video ports via HDMIs are gaining popularity among people. Newer computer models have started ditching older types like VGA for HDMI.



  • It offers lossless transmission and superb video quality
  • Both audio and video signals can be transferred together
  • Encrypted and authenticated data carriage
  • Supports 10 bit, 12 bit and 16-bit colour depths


  • Very expensive as compared to other cables
  • Screen flashing errors can be seen sometimes
  • It can get difficult to run so many applications at once


Developed by major IT companies, it stands for Universal Serial Bus Type C. The main purpose was to act as the sole cable connection between a monitor and a computer.

The USB Type-C is mainly designed for laptops and mobile phones and can accomplish tons of work needed to be done. For instance, it can charge a laptop while transferring data from one source to another.

It is bidirectional and can be used in laptops to project phone screens while working on something from your phone. USB-C cables can transfer both sound and videos at better quality than the earlier mentioned types.

USB-C has high transfer speeds that can get up to 40 GB/S giving you the ability to stream 4k over it. More research is being done to 100% reliance on USB-C for monitor connection types.

As a laptop or phone charging device, it can act as a fast charger. It significantly reduces the time spent charging your device. It can handle up to 100 W of power while charging, making it a perfect fit for laptop charging.

You can use an adapter to connect to multiple screens if need be. Some adapters have been developed for smooth connectivity using type C USB for older models.


  • Works as USB, video output, ethernet, PCI-E lanes
  • Everything in a single cable
  • Works on various platforms and devices.
  • Hassle-free reversible connection


  • USB-C are more expensive cables since they are so versatile
  • All ports won’t perform the same
  • You might need to buy new adapters to accommodate these cables.


computer screen

Introduced around 2006, DisplayPort is a high-speed option that enables video and audio transmission through cables. With the improving technology, it can stream ultra-HD and 4k seamlessly.

When it was first introduced, display ports were mainly compatible with high-end monitors and graphics cards. This remains the case with most high-resolution screens with higher refreshing rates still using the DisplayPort. It’s to support them reliably.

Gamers who use their PCs have been found to prefer display ports over other means. It’s due to their high resolution and transfer rates without losing image quality. Graphics designers use this mode as well due to their high-quality images. When choosing a computer or screen that will need high-quality streaming, check its compatibility with DisplayPort.


  • They are more high-performance than all other cables.
  • Great for 4K experience at 60Hz.
  • Unlike HDMI, you don’t have to choose from 4 different types.
  • Great for gamers with it’s refresh rate.
  • Great for visual designers who can hook one monitor onto another.


  • Won’t work with ethernet
  • Active adapters for DisplayPort are expensive

Is DisplayPort better than HDMI?

DisplayPort and HDMI complement each other. It gets quite hard to decide which one is better than the other. One can be better than the other at one or two features. Overall, they serve different purposes and can only be considered in their strengths to choosing which one to go with. Like a shower and a bathtub, they both serve the same purpose but cannot be compared.

The factors to consider include;


Depending on the video sink available on your source, that is only when you can confidently pick one over the other. If your video card only has HDMI connectivity supported, it would be prudent to pick it over the DisplayPort.

You might argue that you can use an adapter to enable the connectivity. The quality might not be as good as the originally intended cable.

Cable from the manufacturer

Experts advise you on the cables that come boxed with the monitor from the manufacturer. They have the best performance for that screen compared to others. When replacing the cable comes, you should check the user manual for the prescribed model. Using the manufacturer-advised cable ensures that you have a properly functioning device that will hardly disturb you.


If your screen is for entertainment purposes, you wouldn’t need to choose a display port over the HDMI. HDMI has been improved over time to give the best experience needed while relaxing at home. HDMI supports Audio Return Channel (ARC), making it possible for you to connect the audio to your soundbar from the TV.

Multiple connections

For users that need to project their work to multiple screens, then they should acquire display ports. You can easily set up 3 to 4 screens from a single cable on your desk. It has been designed to easily support an adapter, making it way easier to use.

High resolution

It is advisable to use DisplayPort in higher resolution tasks since it can support 4 k images. The display port is still a better choice for graphics design and video editing. It gives you clearer images that are easier to work on.

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